OneWorld patient’s journey to embracing her true identity
In November 2021, OneWorld patient, Julia Gálvez Delgado, MD, MBI, walked through the doors of the Livestock Exchange building, looked around and thought, “This feels like home.” As the new Division Chief of Pediatric Anesthesiology at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center of Omaha and the Vice Chair of Pediatric Anesthesiology in the UNMC Department of Anesthesiology, a medical facility was nothing new; however, the atmosphere took Julia back to her childhood.
Julia was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and moved to Miami, Florida, when she was 11 years old.
“Whenever you walked into a hospital or medical facility in Miami, there were very few people who spoke only English, almost everyone was bilingual, and that’s exactly what OneWorld felt like, ” said Julia. “It was very special to me and really opened my eyes to the type of services OneWorld provides to the community.”
Julia took the elevator to the second floor to meet with Dr. Donna Faber, Family Medicine Physician, about gender affirming care. Having just moved to Omaha from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she needed to establish local medical care.
“I came to Omaha as Jorge, and at this point in time I was receiving gender affirming care, but I wasn’t public about it,” said Julia. “I wasn’t sure if it was going to be possible for me to transition, at least anytime soon. However, thanks to the support of my community, I have been able to blossom in a way that I was not able to in other places. Thanks to that support, I am able to be myself, to be Julia.”
While she is a OneWorld patient herself, Julia also serves the care needs of some of OneWorld’s surgical patients. As an anesthesiologist, Dr. Gálvez Delgado’s moments with patients are short, yet powerful. With every interaction, she holds the responsibility of gaining trust and providing comfort and expert care in a surgical setting.
Growing up, Julia’s paternal grandfather and her maternal grandmother’s careers in medicine were intriguing and inspiring to her. She decided to pursue a career in medicine, which led her to the Yale University School of Medicine.
Julia said she always thought she would be a pediatrician; however, her pediatric rotation left some doubts about that path. She took an extra year to complete research and think everything over. During that time, Julia completed an anesthesiology rotation, and the residency director approached her and encouraged her to pursue anesthesiology.
Then one day, she received an email from the dean of students that said, “Come to my office.” Julia, full of nerves and uncertainty, walked to the dean’s office.
“It was so nerve wracking, but she actually called me there to share a letter a patient had sent to the hospital expressing her gratitude for the care I provided her,” said Julia. “This patient was going to go through a mastectomy, and yet felt so grateful for the care I provided, that she wrote a letter. It made me realize how impactful the little moment of time patients spend with anesthesiologists is.”
Julia graduated from medical school in 2006. She completed a one-year residency in internal medicine and a three-year residency in anesthesiology at Yale, and then moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to complete a fellowship in pediatric anesthesiology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
After spending a year practicing at Valley Children’s Hospital in Fresno, California, Julia was presented with the opportunity to be a part of the faculty to develop a biomedical informatics program in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Around 10 years later, the opportunity to join the team at Children’s Hospital and UNMC arose.
“The more I looked into moving to Omaha, the more it made sense for my career and my family,” said Julia. “There have been so many jumps and connections created, and a lot of that stems from being around people who are actively taking steps to create an inclusive environment where people feel safe enough to express themselves.”
In addition to her positions at Children’s Hospital and UNMC, Dr. Gálvez Delgado is involved in diversity, equity and inclusion efforts locally and nationally through the Society of Pediatric Anesthesia, the Society of Technology in Anesthesia and the American Society of Anesthesiologists.
“I just want to say thank you to everyone at OneWorld, in Omaha, in Nebraska and really the region,” said Julia. “I’m so grateful. This chapter of my life never really seemed like it would be possible, yet here I am, so thank you.”
At OneWorld, We Care for All People.